Newsflash: Voter ID intended to suppress minority votes

I know, you’re shocked.  Shocked!  Anyway, nice piece of reporting in the Palm Beach Post (reminds me of happy times visiting my grandparents in N. Palm Beach many, many years ago) about how the former state GOP chair and former Republican governor Charlie Crist (both admitted apostates now, of course) claim that the intent of voter ID and reducing early voting were always to reduce Democratic turnout:

Former Republican Party of Florida Chairman Jim Greer says he attended various meetings, beginning in 2009, at which party staffers and consultants pushed for reductions in early voting days and hours.

“The Republican Party, the strategists, the consultants, they firmly believe that early voting is bad for Republican Party candidates,” Greer told The Post. “It’s done for one reason and one reason only. … ‘We’ve got to cut down on early voting because early voting is not good for us,’ ” Greer said he was told by those staffers and consultants.

“They never came in to see me and tell me we had a (voter) fraud issue,” Greer said. “It’s all a marketing ploy.” …

Another GOP consultant, who did not want to be named, also confirmed that influential consultants to the Republican Party of Florida were intent on beating back Democratic turnout in early voting after 2008…

In 2011 Republicans, who had super majorities in both chambers of the legislature, passed HB 1355, which curtailed early voting days from 14 to eight; greatly proscribed the activities of voter registration organizations like the League of Women Voters; and made it harder for voters who had changed counties since the last election to cast ballots, a move that affected minorities proportionately more than whites. The League and others challenged the law in court, and a federal judge threw out most of the provisions related to voter registration organizations.

And plenty of more.  In all fairness, the article quotes a number of Florida Republicans claiming that, no, really, it was about preventing voter fraud.  They’re lying, of course.

Alas, as my friend who posted this to FB pointed out, we’re sure to see some version of this in NC now that we’ve got unified Republican control.  Early voting (importantly, combined with same-day registration) has clearly done wonders to boost electoral participation in North Carolina.  Would be a real shame to see the Republicans turn the clock back on that.

Photo of the day

From a Big Picture set on the Gaza conflict:

A Palestinian man carries a stuffed toy in a street littered with debris after a Israeli air raid on a nearby sporting centre in Gaza City, November 19, 2012. (Marco Longari/AFP/Getty Images)

Red, blue, rich, poor

Meant to post this a while back, but it’s a terrific post by Andrew Gelman, who’s book, Red State, Blue State, Rich State, Poor State, offers the most accurate way for understanding the red/blue state divide in America: short version– it’s all about the rich people.  Anyway, Gelman applies his earlier findings to explaining the 2012 results. It’s a really useful and important way for understanding the way partisan polarization in the US actually plays out at the state level:

As in previous elections, richer voters leaned Republican while lower-income voters came out strong as Democrats.

Fig. 1Fig. 1

But there’s much more to this story. The maps we have made show that the election was not just about red and blue states. What’s actually going on is that the division between red and blue America is mostly about a split among richer voters.

To picture this, imagine two alternative universes for the 2012 election. In the first, only individuals making less than $50,000 a year can vote; in the second, only those making more than $100,000 a year can. Based on exit polls from Election Day, we have a decent idea of how these scenarios would play out.

In the first universe, Barack Obama wins in a 1984-style landslide, with a near sweep of the Electoral College and around 60 percent of the popular vote.

 In the second universe, Mitt Romney wins with a healthy 54 percent of the popular vote. Though he still carries the red states, a landslide remains out of his grasp — wealthy voters in blue states like New York and California still support Obama by comfortable margins. We’ll come back to this thought in a moment.

Remarkably, this same pattern has occurred in every presidential contest over the past twenty years. Lower-income voters consistently support the Democratic candidate in nearly every state. Upper-income voters, on the other hand, are more mixed in their political views: wealthy voters in Mississippi are strongly Republican while wealthy voters in Massachusetts are strongly Democratic. Extensive analyses of survey information from these elections show that this relationship holds even when controlling for age, race, sex and education.

In other words, contrary to what you have heard, there’s only a strong red America-blue America split toward the top of the income distribution. Toward the bottom, the electoral map is a sea of blue.  [emphasis mine]

Lots more cool maps and analysis to go along at the site, but for now, just remembering this basic lesson puts you ahead of 99% of America’s professional pundits.

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